I am rarely wowed, honestly.

Ascension Community High School librarian, Suanne Gordon reshelves books that have been in storage while the school was being renovated. National Archives.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Director of Library Services

Titles hired include: Librarian, Library Associate

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor 

Which of the following does your organization regularly require of candidates?

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume 

√ References 

√ More than one round of interviews 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

Briefly describe the hiring process at your organization and your role in it:

I (director) chose the hiring committee. We review resumes, choose candidates for interview, refer finalists to college admin, and I consult with them re: the hire.

Think about the last candidate who really wowed you, on paper, in an interview, or otherwise. Why were they so impressive?

Articulated experience and how it applied to the goals of our library and college. I am rarely wowed, honestly. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

When people put their foot in their mouth re: why they want to work there or how they feel about diversity initiatives. 

What do you wish you could know about candidates that isn’t generally revealed in the hiring process?

Why they want to leave their current position.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

Resume: √ We don’t ask for this 

CV: √ As many as it takes, but keep it reasonable and relevant 

What is the most common mistake that people make in an interview?

Not researching the college or what’s happening in the field. Like if you’re interviewing for an instruction librarian and you can’t speak meaningfully about the ACRL Framework, then you aren’t prepared for the interview.

Do you conduct virtual interviews? What do job hunters need to know about shining in this setting?

Yes. Make sure you can be heard/have a good connection! 

How can candidates looking to transition from paraprofessional work, from non-library work, or between library types convince you that their experience is relevant? Or do you have other advice for folks in this kind of situation?

Give examples of how they partnered with librarians on “professional work” and what they learned from it. Give examples of what they’ve read about or conference presentations/webinars they have attended and what excites them/what they would like to do. I am happy to train people, but they have to show me that they’re willing to learn. 

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad 

What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?

Our HR requires a search committee that is diverse in race and gender. We post job ads to lists like REFORMA. I’m sure there are still some unconscious “fit” issues but we’re working hard to be aware of that kind of thinking.

What questions should candidates ask you? What is important for them to know about your organization and the position you are hiring for?

I want to know that they are excited about what we have going on. I want them to ask about the work day and expectations so I know that they will like their new job and not want to quit! It’s as important that we are a good fit for them as it is that they are a good fit for us.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Other: by request, but it is uncommon

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 11-50 

Is there anything else you’d like to say, either to job hunters or to me, the survey author? 

I post awesome jobs with great salaries and I get really unqualified applicants. Our last search yielded SEVEN qualified candidates. I don’t know how to find all of these great librarians that are out there looking for jobs! We post to all the job lists/sites.

Author’s note: Hey, thanks for reading! If you like reading, why not try commenting or sharing? Or are you somebody who hires Library, Archives or other LIS workers? Please consider giving your own opinion by filling out the survey here.

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 10-50 staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, Suburban area

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